Issue 13

fresh … ideas!

Antonia Onaca
de aproape 10 ani trainer, psiholog, consultant sub formă de antreprenor, intraprenor și antreprenor din nou


Experience is good as long as you need to solve problems that you already solved once. Experience, unfortunately, is un-good when you"re faced with new problems or you need new solutions.


The human mind is simple. This is great as long as you need to act fast and be efficient. We know, however, that today we need more than quick and easy.

We need something NEW, unseen, creative, innovative, fresh …

The inexperienced have it easy. They don"t have validated patterns (from previous experience) that activate when they need to solve something. For them the challenge is new so they can create a new solution.

However, sometimes we need a NEW solution that is not just new to us. That means we sometimes need new solutions that are different than previous solutions (even carried out by other people)

How to do that? There are many solutions to stimulate creativity and divergent thinking. I"ll just talk about one that so far created some pretty cool and new ideas for those who tried it. It takes a while but it"s sure worth the effort.

It"s a kind of magic. Magic54, version 1.

Where is it you need some fresh solutions? What challenge/problem do you need to fix?

It can be anything from "How can I live in a place I like" to "How do I motivate my team?"

It"s better to formulate the challenge starting with how to instead of black and white phrasing "Am I buying an apartment or not?" "Am I giving them a performance bonus or not?"

Don"t get into too many details, they won"t help.

Now that we know what the challenge is … generate 54 solutions. Yes, I know: "54? Are you serious?". I am serious.

I"ll help you out a bit. First solution "I don"t do anything and leave things as they are"

Rules for the 54 solutions:

  • Write whatever comes to your mind
  • Do not think about the solutions or try to analyze their feasibility
  • Do not get into details or try to imagine how they will work
  • Even if you feel you found the perfect solution, keep writing up to 54
  • The written solutions can be variations or nuances of previous ones

Some realistic preview of the process:

It will be frustrating and the temptation to quit will be high at around 20 and 30 and 40 and 50. The first 12 solutions will be solutions that you already considered or variations of them. Usually the next 12 (from 12 to 24) are solutions that don"t rock the boat.

only after 24 you really start thinking … about what you want to obtain and how much you are willing to put in.

Some recommendations to make this easier on you:

Every time you get stuck you can use any of the following "unstuckers" or find some new ones. The purpose is to use other parts of your brain, parts that you would not normally use when solving your challenge:

  • Re-read the list and spell check it
  • Talk to someone and try to explain the challenge
  • Drink a big glass of water
  • Take a shower
  • Solve some math problems or read poems
  • Look at pictures
  • Solve a Sudoku or any other mind game
  • Sing

You can even re-read the list and try to rephrase previous solutions.

Remember, not all the solutions need to be perfect. You can, and I encourage you to, write solutions that appear to be weird on unfeasible. The purpose is to let your mind wander and look at the challenge from new perspectives.

If it helps, you can turn to the World Wide Web for inspiration and guidance.

… but if you manage to really stick to it … your brain will impress you

Ok. Now you have a list of 54 solutions or more. Next we"ll do some simple math. Bellow you find some suggestions for solutions that can be combined. You can also choose which ones to combine:

19+? (choose your solution)

A combination is when you create a new solution from the ones you combined.

Bonus feature. This is my favorite part.

Write down 10 non-solutions. Non-solutions are things that might work but certainly will not or even things that might make the situation worse.

If you generate the non-solutions your mind will relax and lower the performance anxiety (create good solutions). Right after this list think of at least 5 solutions for the original list.

Pick your thing!

Now you have a long list of solutions. Pick the best ones, at least 6 and write them down on a new piece of paper.

Come up with a plan!

I noticed that rarely there is one solution to a challenge so I recommend you to draw up a plan (write it down) where you take all the solutions from the short list and put them in reality. If needed, you"ll change the plan when you implement it, according to the outcomes it produces.

Is it worth your while?

Now you have a list of not less than 6 solutions and a plan to make them happen.

Think about it. Is it worth it? Think if the positive and negative outcomes of implementing it coupled with the effort of making it real weighs more than the current situations.

It is possible to see that it is not worth your effort or you can even find the drive to make it real.

It is indeed an exercise that is enabled by stubbornness. In this case, stubbornness rules.

It is fun, but it also requires effort.

But your mind is awesome; don"t waste it just by travelling on the known path.




  • Accenture
  • BT Code Crafters
  • Accesa
  • Bosch
  • Betfair
  • MHP
  • BoatyardX
  • .msg systems
  • Yardi
  • P3 group
  • Ing Hubs
  • Colors in projects